The Old Bar Beach Pirates club, the club that produced one of the NRL’s most exciting young players in Sydney Roosters lock Boyd Cordner, are eying a possible premiership in the Group 3 competition despite experiencing a horrendous 16 months since a fire started in a bin saw their clubhouse destroyed.
Roosters lock and Old Bar product Boyd Cordner gives the Pirate salute.
The Pirates, located 16km east of Taree, were formed in 1991 when they were accepted to play in the mid North Coast Hastings League.
Playing jerseys and training gear all went in the fire and without a canteen, dressing room and toilet facilities, the Pirates had to move from Old Bar Reserve to another ground, which was substandard, for their home games.
It was seven months before work began on rebuilding the clubhouse and a new and larger building was completed in June this year, financed by the local council’s insurance, while Tooheys provided new bar facilities.
The first match at ‘The Graveyard’ since September 2012 saw the Pirates win 40-10 against Wingham Tigers.
“It was great to play on our own ground,” said committeeman and former North Sydney junior Steve Collings.
"During our time away, we had no canteen, so we had very little money going into our bank account. But things are good now and we will finish the season with a lot of home games, allowing us to improve our financial status.
“There are many people and organisations who have helped us get through our bad situation. Tooheys and the local council have been great, while the NRL have also done a lot for us, giving us two pie ovens and an ice machine. The Ironwood company generously gave us $15,000 worth of recycled timber and that looks terrific in our bar area."
“Our major sponsor, Club Old Bar, have been right behind and we are lucky to have their support.”
A hard working landscaper, Collings works hard for the club and it was one of his many initiatives that resulted in NRL CEO, David Smith, accepting an invitation to attend a Group 3 semi-final last year.
The Pirates, located 16km east of Taree, were formed in 1991 when they were accepted to play in the mid North Coast Hastings League. NSW State of Origin rookie Cordner often gives the Pirate symbol when he celebrates a try, depicting his allegiance with his roots. His development, and his club’s recovery from a tough period, seem to have gone hand in glove in 2013.
By Barry Ross